April 16 2021 — For the first time ever, a top ranking US official appears to confirm that US diplomats in Havana have suffered microwave attacks. During a recent interview on CNN (Spanish), Juan Gonzalez (Special Assistant to POTUS & NSC Senior Director for Western Hemisphere) admitted that US diplomats in Havana were indeed subjected to microwave attacks. Follow us on twitter: @Intel_Today
RELATED POST: HAVANA SYNDROME — International Legal Implications
RELATED POST: Three Years Ago — US Spies & the Havana Syndrome
UPDATE (May 11 2021) — Both POLITICO and FOREIGN POLICY have published long stories yesterday.
The piece by POLITICO [Russian spy unit suspected of directed-energy attacks on U.S. personnel] is quite interesting and I will provide some comments shortly.
But today, I wish to correct a gross error published by FOREIGN POLICY. In the article [Claims of Microwave Attacks Are Scientifically Implausible — There’s little evidence for an unknown weapon being behind “Havana syndrome.”], the author speculates about the origin of the “Havana syndrome” theory.
As I am the person who first proposed this theory, I can state that the FREY effect is what prompted me to suggest this explanation when I coined the expression “Havana syndrome.”
Clearly, there is no need for speculation about this!
Moreover, the author writes:
“In 1961, the neuroscientist Allan H. Frey reported that pulsed microwave radiation can cause people to hear clicking and other sounds without an actual sound being produced. This is the National Academies report’s strongest connection between microwave radiation and neurological damage, and an extended explanation is given in Appendix C. There is ongoing argument, however, as to whether the Frey effect is real—and very little scientific research seems to have been done on it in the 50 years since it was discovered.”
What does she possibly mean? She quotes the Washington Post:
“Allan Frey, a retired neuroscientist, reported evidence in the 1960s that microwaves can cause a person to perceive sounds under certain circumstances. That could in theory explain why some of the people who experienced “attacks” heard unusual noises. But Frey acknowledged that the biology behind this phenomenon is still unknown and said he believes whatever happened in Cuba will remain a mystery.”
Let me be crystal clear. There is no debate whatsoever regarding the reality of the Frey effect.
“In 1961, Frey published a technical note on the auditory-system response to RF energy. He used two transmitters, one operating at 1.31 and one at 2.98 GHz. The transmitters operated’ respectively, at 224 pps, 6 micro sec pulse width, and 400 pps, 1 micro secs pulse width. The subjects, who wore earplugs and were located 100 ft from the transmitting antenna, perceived a buzzing sound when exposed to the beam of either transmitter. The sound was perceived as located a short distance behind their heads. The thresholds of average power density of fields at the head were determined to be 0.4 and 2 mW/cm2, respectively, for the two transmitters.” [Auditory perception of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields – Chung-Kwang Chou and Arthur W. Guy –The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. June 1982]
The author also suggests that we know nothing about such “implausible attacks”.
“With no clear biological connection of microwaves to Havana syndrome, it’s not possible to describe a weapon that would produce that syndrome. We do not know what frequency the supposed microwaves would be or whether they are pulsed or continuous.”
As I have explained long ago, the science of “microwave spying” has been described in details and I have narrowed the range of frequencies that are likely to be used by the US IC.
Here is what I wrote in September 2018:
“If microwave radiation has been used to spy against US diplomats in Havana, it would be very useful to know what frequencies were used? We may learn something from the US’s own equipment! (Usually, scientists around the world come up with similar designs for the same reasons.) From the documents leaked by Edward Snowden regarding LOUDAUTO, I suggest that the US microwave spying tool is based on frequencies in the 1 to 2 GHz range.”
The author is also dead wrong when she writes that no microwave experts was involved in the report of the NAS.
“The references are weak, and the committee includes no experts in microwaves and their effects. The committee is made up mostly of experts in medical-related fields. Only two out of 19 seem likely to have any expertise in microwave technology, and it is not their specialty.”
Professor James Lin is one of the world experts on this subject and he was invited to make a presentation which I have seen. (With his permission, and if it is legal, I will post this presentation on this blog.)
The following video includes shots taken from Professor James Lin’s lab some years ago. Professor Lin told me that this video was originally produced by a TV program entitled: Ultra-Science III – Spies Like Us.
END of UPDATE
UPDATE (MAY 10 2021) — More than a dozen CIA officers serving in multiple overseas locations have returned to the U.S. to seek care this year after reporting symptoms consistent with “Havana Syndrome.”
The new suspected incidents occurred in the early months of 2021, and at least one happened as recently as March.
In many of the cases, the officers felt so sick, so suddenly, that they required emergency medical evacuation. The recent incidents have taken place on three continents.
“A White House spokesperson said the cause of the incidents is an area of ‘active inquiry,’ and that the National Security Council (NSC) has been coordinating a ‘government-wide effort’ since the start of the administration to determine who is responsible and ensure those affected receive medical evaluations and proper care.”
“As part of the inquiry, the NSC is coordinating a full review of intelligence reporting to ascertain whether there may be previously unreported incidents that fit a broader pattern,” the spokesperson said.
“We cannot address additional specifics at this time, but this remains a priority and we are bringing the U.S. government’s resources to bear to get to the bottom of this.”
END of UPDATE
UPDATE (May 4 2021) — When asked by a visitor what Electricity & Magnetism could be good for, Michael Faraday had not clear answer.
So the great scientist merely replied: “What use is a baby? You do not want to decide on the life of a newborn.” [When asked the same question by the Prime Minister, Faraday replied: “In ten years you will be taxing it!”]
On October 3 2017, I coined the expression “Havana Syndrome”. [Here is the tweet] The expression is now universally used, both by the media and the research community.
I certainly never expected this expression to become so popular! A Google search of the expression “Havana Syndrome” brings about 3.5 million results!
Here is a short sample of the articles published by Main Stream Media in just the last few days.
CNBC : U.S. investigating peculiar attacks with hallmarks of ‘Havana syndrome’ near White House
GlobalNews : Canadian officials not disclosing ‘at least 3’ new Havana syndrome cases: letter
News.com.au : Mysterious Havana Syndrome ‘energy attack’ near White House being investigated
France24 : US investigates more ‘Havana syndrome‘ attacks
Deutsche Welle (DW) : US investigates instances of “Havana syndrome” among diplomats
The Guardian : Havana syndrome: NSA officer’s case hints at microwave attacks since 90s
TheStraitsTimes : US investigates more ‘Havana syndrome‘ attacks
Times of Israel : US probing more ‘Havana syndrome’ attacks
Obviously, people all over the world are intrigued by the Havana Syndrome mystery.
And yet, to the best of my knowledge, there is one country where newspapers have never published a single article on this subject… Can you guess?
That country is Belgium. And I believe there is a very good reason why the newspapers are told to keep quiet on the subject.
The people in Brussels have the right to know the truth. The diplomats, the NATO military, and the EU workers have to right to know that the Vienna Convention is not respected.
The sooner, the better. US President Joe Biden will travel to Brussels for his first overseas trip as president on June 14 2021 to attend the next NATO summit.
In a recent briefing in Europe that included State and Pentagon officials, a defense official revealed that “there has been an increasing number of microwave attacks on U.S. troops reported worldwide, including in Europe.”
PS — Last night, Politico reported an interview with former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, who launched an initiative to investigate the incidents during his time at the Pentagon last year.
Miller told POLITICO that these attacks constitute an Act of War. “The suspected directed-energy attacks on U.S. government personnel worldwide are ‘an act of war.’ If this plays out and somebody is attacking Americans [even] with a nonlethal weapon … we owe it to our folks that are out there. We owe it to them to get to the bottom of this.”
END of UPDATE
UPDATE (April 29 2021) — Officials are investigating two potential “Havana syndrome” attacks on U.S. soil. [CNN cited unnamed official sources for its report.]
According to CNN, one of the attacks took place near the Ellipse, the grassy oval lawn just south of the White House, harming a National Security Council official in November 2020.
The second US incident concerned a White House staffer who was walking her dog in Virginia in 2019, when she heard a high-pitched noise in her ears that was followed by an intense headache.
“The health and well-being of American public servants is a paramount priority for the Biden administration. We take all reports of health incidents by our personnel extremely seriously. The White House is working closely with departments and agencies to address unexplained health incidents and ensure the safety and security of Americans serving around the world,” a White House spokesperson stated.
Lawmakers on the Senate and House Armed Services Committees were briefed on the issue earlier this month.
Meanwhile, a group of Canadian diplomats is accusing Canada’s government of withholding information about what the diplomats say are three new cases of brain injury resulting from “Havana Syndrome” that have been identified in the past two years.
“The distortion of information misleads the public and causes significant risk to new personnel being sent to Cuba, as they are not being fully apprised of the risks to which they are exposed,” the diplomats wrote.
Shaheen Questions DNI Avril Haines on Reports of ‘Havana Syndrome’ Attacks
END of UPDATE
UPDATE (April 26 2021) — NBC’s Andrea Mitchell spoke with a veteran CIA officer who claims to be a victim of a microwave attack while visiting Russia.
Marc Polymeropoulos describes the debilitating medical conditions that ended his career.
Meanwhile, two other CIA agents believe they were also attacked with a sophisticated microwave weapon while they were visiting Australian in late 2020.
In an official statement, CIA spokesman Timothy Barrett said that:
“The CIA is working alongside other government agencies to double down on our efforts to find answers regarding the unexplained global health incidents that have impacted personnel. The Agency’s top priority has been and continues to be the well-being of all of our officers.”
Sources familiar with the ongoing investigations out of the separate US agencies — including the CIA, the FBI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the State Department — say that a major impediment to their efficacy is the fact that they are largely siloed efforts. Inter-agency coordination has been limited, in part due to the highly classified nature of some details…
It is not clear if the Biden administration will bring the multiple investigations of these suspected microwave attacks under one roof, but officials at the National Security Council are discussing that possibility.
UPDATE (April 23 2021) — US military leaders believe Russia is behind a series of suspected “directed energy” attacks causing illness in US troops and diplomats.
The Pentagon has briefed top lawmakers on intelligence surrounding suspected directed-energy attacks against U.S. troops, and officials identified Russia as a likely culprit, according to anonymous sources quoted by POLITICO. [Pentagon investigated suspected Russian directed-energy attacks on U.S. troops]
The Pentagon has briefed top lawmakers on intelligence surrounding suspected directed-energy attacks against U.S. troops, and officials identified Russia as a likely culprit, according to two people with direct knowledge of the matter.
The incidents of suspected directed-energy attacks by Russia on Americans abroad became so concerning that the Pentagon’s office of special operations and low-intensity conflict began investigating last year, according to two former national security officials involved in the effort. It’s unclear exactly how many troops were injured, or the extent of their injuries.
A spokesperson for the director of national intelligence declined to comment.
The investigation is part of a broader effort to look into directed-energy attacks on U.S. officials across multiple agencies in recent years. Since late 2016, close to 50 officials have reported symptoms of a mysterious illness that became known as “Havana syndrome” among U.S. diplomats posted in Cuba.
Directed-energy attacks on U.S. spies and diplomats are well-documented; the CIA recently set up its own task force to look into the issue. But the recent Pentagon effort to look into similar incidents affecting U.S. troops has not previously been reported.
The investigation evolved into a larger discussion involving the National Security Council, the CIA, State Department and Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said three former national security officials involved in the discussions.
Russia has denied any responsibility and US Congressmen briefed on this new information have not been willing to discuss it in public.
Based on this information, there is no way of knowing whether these attacks — if they occurred at all — share any similarities with the suspected attacks in Havana.
Yet, I will take this opportunity to repeat an obvious point which was made by Professor James Lin — University of Illinois, Chicago — since the very beginning of this saga.
“Whether or not a microwave weapon was the culprit, this stealth technique may be a weapon of the future. I would not be surprised if some military establishment around the world invests or has already been engaged in such a program.”
As a rule, whenever it was possible to build and use a new weapon, human beings have almost always done so. There are exceptions — such as the use of blinding laser weapons — but the ban of a new weapon before its development is a very rare event.
In any case, the story appears to confirm that the White House and the US IC are really taking the Havana Syndrome mystery very seriously.
PS — A few weeks ago, Professor Lin has kindly sent me a couple of papers on the subject and I will discuss his findings as soon as possible. Stay tuned!
END of UPDATE
The Biden administration has signaled a commitment to solving the “Havana Syndrome” mystery.
During his confirmation hearing, CIA Director William Burns stated that it would be a “High priority to solve Havana attacks mystery.”
Both US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and CIA Director Nominee William Burns promised to get answers on who is responsible for these attacks on U.S. spies and diplomats.
On March 12, 2021, the State Department announced the appointment of retired Ambassador Pamela Spratlen as Senior Advisor to the task force handling the agency’s response to the Havana Syndrome.
The CIA is working with others to “double down” on finding answers regarding the unexplained global health incidents,” CIA press secretary Timothy Barrett has stated.
The CIA has set up a centralized team with doctors, counterintelligence officials, and human resources for anyone affected.
Last week, during an interview on CNN (Spanish), Juan Gonzalez — Special Assistant to POTUS & NSC Senior Director for Western Hemisphere — admitted that US diplomats in Havana were subjected to microwave attacks. [Joe Biden no es Barack Obama en la política hacia Cuba]
“Tenemos que asegurarnos de que nuestro personal en la embajada estadounidense en La Habana estén seguros y no corran peligro de un ataque de microondas o no sé cómo lo están llamando hoy.”.
[“We have to make sure that our staff at the US embassy in Havana are safe and not in danger of a microwave attack or I don’t know what they are calling it today.”]
“Quienes piensan que EEUU va a entrar en estos momentos con un diálogo de múltiples años con Cuba, yo creo que no entiende el momento político y la situación en donde estamos viviendo y el desorden que heredamos de la Administración previa.”
[Those who think that the US is going to enter into a dialogue of multiple years with Cuba, I believe that they do not understand the political moment and the situation in which we are living and the disorder that we inherited from the previous Administration.]
“No se invertirá de forma inicial el capital político o el tiempo de esta Administración.“
[“The political capital or time of this Administration will not be invested initially.”]
This is the first time ever that a high level US official appears to confirm that us diplomats in Havana have indeed suffered microwave attacks.
On Wednesday (April 14 2021), US Senator Susan Collins, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, thanked CIA Director William Burns for his focus on Havana Syndrome.
“I promised in my confirmation hearing that I take very seriously ensuring that our colleagues at CIA… receive the care that they deserve and that we get to the bottom of the question of what caused these [Havana Syndrome] incidents and who might have been responsible,” CIA Director Burns told Senator Collins.
“And I look forward to staying in close touch with you on that. I know my colleagues at CIA deeply appreciate your personal commitment on this issue.”
Did you know? — On October 3 2017, I coined the expression “Havana Syndrome”. [Here is the tweet] The expression is now universally used, both by the media and the research community. A Google search of the expression “Havana Syndrome” brings about 3.5 million results!
The expression “Havana Syndrome” has entered the lexicon of widely different people, from judges and lawyers to various kind of artists. Why did I coin the expression “Havana Syndrome” and what does it mean?
As soon as I heard about this rather unusual saga, I immediately made a connection between the Havana attacks and the old story of the Microwave Syndrome, thus the conflation Havana Syndrome.
FLASHBACK — A formerly classified internal State Department review obtained by the National Security Archive reveals that the CIA closed its station in Havana before the diplomats were pulled out.
The Accountability Review Board [ARB] report provides the first official confirmation that the CIA closed down its Havana station and pulled its operatives out of Cuba in September 2017.
A September 13, 2017, entry in a chronology of U.S. government actions states: “CIA informs [Acting Assistant Secretary Francisco] Palmieri of its decision to withdraw personnel from Havana for the foreseeable future.” Secretary Tillerson ordered the departure of all non-emergency personal on September 29 2017.
The decision appeared to be precipitated by two more U.S. intelligence officers falling ill on August 22 2017, while staying at the Hotel Nacional in Havana, reinforcing suspicions at the CIA that their agents were being targeted.
“In August 2017, two TDY [temporary duty travel] personnel experienced medical injury from an incident at a Havana hotel.”
The ARB criticized the CIA for failing to share information about the health-related experiences of its agents in Havana in late 2016 and early 2017, delaying the State Department’s ability to rapidly react.
“Both at [Havana] Post and in Washington, response to the incidents was characterized by excessive secrecy that contributed to a delayed response,” the report noted in its findings on communication and information sharing.
The Board forcefully recommended that:
“The Secretary of State should advise employees, and his counterparts at other agencies represented at missions overseas, that he expects complete transparency and prompt notification regarding any episode that results in harm or increased danger for USG employees.”
The Board received information on similar health incidents in at least three other countries. “In addition to Embassy Havana, there were reports of similar incidents at several other posts (Tashkent, [redacted country/city name], and China).”
In the case of China, the report included a cable (not released with the declassified version) from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, dated May 21, 2018, stating that the Embassy had convened an Emergency Action Committee to address a “victim of auditory or sensory phenomena.”
According to the Board, there was “one medically confirmed report regarding a Consulate Guangzhou employee, who described incidents in Guangzhou, China, similar to those experienced by Embassy Havana community members and whose injuries were confirmed by medical experts to match those of the Havana victims.”
The CIA’s involvement may have also made the U.S. response more difficult, as the spy agency was reticent in sharing information about its affected personnel, the report said. [ABC News]
“Both at Post and in Washington, response to the incidents was characterized by excessive secrecy that contributed to a delayed response,” it said, calling for “complete transparency and prompt notification regarding any episode that results in harm or increased danger for USG (U.S. government) employees.”
CIA spokesperson Nicole de Haay declined to answer specific questions.
“CIA’s first priority has been and continues to be the welfare of all of our officers,” said de Haay.
“The U.S. investigation into attacks that had sickened American diplomats in Havana in 2017 is still underway and remains a high priority,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said on February 11 2021. [REUTERS]
CNN Interviews Senator Jeanne Shaheen on Havana Syndrome
Biden administration gears up to solve ‘Havana Syndrome’ attacks mystery — Washington Examiner
Havana Syndrome — White House official confirms Microwave attacks
Havana Syndrome — White House Official Confirms Microwave Attacks [UPDATE : Pentagon suspects microwave attacks against US troops.]
Havana Syndrome — White House Official Confirms Microwave Attacks [UPDATE : CIA officer Marc Polymeropoulos speaks out.]
BREAKING NEWS — Havana Syndrome — White House Official Confirms Microwave Attacks [UPDATE : Press Review]
BREAKING NEWS — Havana Syndrome — White House Official Confirms Microwave Attacks [UPDATE — Dozen CIA officers medevaced from their stations overseas]
BREAKING NEWS — Havana Syndrome — White House Official Confirms Microwave Attacks [UPDATE — A quick comment on the Frey Effect]